Centralia Pennsylvania – Underground Mine Fires burning since 1962

Posted on May 9, 2006 

Centralia Pennsylvania- Underground Mine Fires burning since 1962

As recently as 1981, there were over 1,000 residents living in Centralia, although the population has now dwindled to 11 (we’ll say that again: 11 people) as a result of a 40-year mine fire burning beneath the borough (we’ll say that again: it’s been burning for 40 years… underneath the town). This is certainly not unlike Silent Hill, which was left deserted since devastating coal fires ravaged the town and its people.

The inferno started when a trash fire was lit in an abandoned mine pit in Centralia in 1962. The fire ignited an exposed vein of coal and spread throughout the mines beneath the borough. Several attempts have been made and millions of dollars have been spent unsuccessfully to extinguish this fire that still burns today.

Over 43 years and 40 million dollars later the fire still burns through old coal mines and veins under the town and the surrounding hillsides. The fire, smoke, fumes and toxic gases that came up through the back yards, basements and streets of Centralia practically ripped the town apart. Today Centralia is a near-ghost town with only a few remaining hold-outs who refused government offers of compensation.

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